Rice production is responsible for about 8% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions globally. This is equivalent to the total emissions of countries like Canada, Saudi Arabia, France, and the UK combined. Most of these emissions come in the form of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. To address this issue, the Global Methane Pledge was launched at COP26 with a commitment to reduce methane emissions from rice production by at least 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.
In response to this pledge, Gold Standard, a nonprofit organization focused on climate security and sustainable development, has developed a new methodology to reduce methane emissions from rice production. The methodology involves changing water management practices, using alternate wetting and drying methods, adopting aerobic rice cultivation, and switching from transplanted to direct-seeded rice. These changes can help mitigate methane emissions by promoting the decomposition of organic matter in rice fields with access to oxygen.
One key benefit of this new methodology is that it opens up a new source of income for rice farmers. By participating in emission reduction activities and selling carbon credits, farmers can generate additional revenue. This is particularly important for the approximately 140 million smallholders in Asia who produce the majority of the world’s rice. These carbon credits can also be used by corporations to offset their emissions and meet their sustainability targets.
The new methodology is fully aligned with IPCC guidelines and includes improved monitoring guidelines. It is also designed to be user-friendly and applicable to a wide range of rice farming projects. The methodology has been developed in collaboration with the Eurecat Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya and the International Rice Research Institute, with support from the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Overall, this new methodology is a significant step towards mitigating methane emissions from rice production. It not only helps reduce the environmental impact of rice farming but also provides economic benefits for farmers and allows corporations to take responsibility for their emissions. The methodology is set to be explained in a webinar hosted by Gold Standard, providing an opportunity for stakeholders to learn more about its implementation.